Udupi mathadhipati threatened with excommunication

Robert J. Zydenbos zydenbos at giasbg01.vsnl.net.in
Sat Aug 2 20:04:35 UTC 1997

The Kannada-language daily newspaper Prajaavaa.ni yesterday (1.8.1997)
reported the following:

Sri Sugunendratirtha, the mathadhipati of Puttige Matha (one of the
eight mathas founded by Madhvacharya which now have their headquarters
in Udupi) is at present visiting the United States, where he has been
invited by followers to spend his chaturmasya. This has led to an
outcry among certain Maadhvas and also among a few of the other
mathadhipati-s of the astamatha-s in Udupi, with Sri
Vidyavarinidhitirtha, the head of Kaniyur Matha, threatening to have
Sugunendratirtha excommunicated for visiting America, which by some is
considered a forbidden act.

Several years ago there was a precedent, when the then junior
mathadhipati of Pejavara Matha, Sri Visvavijayatirtha, visited the
United States and afterwards was excommunicated. It is reported that
this former mathadhipati has now settled in Pittsburg as a priest.

The newspaper report further mentions that Sri Sugunendratirtha will
travel in North America and meet Canadian and American scholars (no
names of persons or institutions are mentioned).

Also on behalf of the more progressive members of that religious
community, I would like to request those in North America who meet Sri
Sugunendratirtha to explicitly express their appreciation of his
visiting the continent - and perhaps, where appropriate, to make a
public statement about the value of such visits by the highest clergy in
the interest of furthering mutual understanding between people in
different countries and on different continents, so that some signals
from the liberal world outside India which takes an interest in Indian
culture and religious thought may reach Udupi.

Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
Mysore (India)
e-mail zydenbos at giasbg01.vsnl.net.in

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